Listen to your body. That's fairly common advice for recreational runners. I've even doled it out at times myself. But I hate it. It makes no sense. Let's be honest:...
When I was being introduced to and learning about surfing in the ’90’s, I remember asking my boyfriend (now husband) about a particular surfer. I may have asked “is she good?” His answer was “she charges.” That was pretty much the biggest compliment you could give a surfer. “She charges” means she doesn’t hesitate, she goes out in the biggest waves, she throws herself over the lip. She probably wipes out a lot as a consequence and may not necessarily win all the contests, but “she charges” denotes an attitude which earns respect in the surfing world.
I recently spent a good portion of a weekend with four 9 year old boys. There are some redeeming and some not so redeeming qualities in 9 year old boys, but one thing I noticed and sort of admired was that they “charge.” They do not hesitate or ponder consequences or consider alternate options. They charge forward in everything they do with energy and passion. They are not graceful or skilled or particularly athletically talented, but that does not dampen their enthusiasm or enjoyment in doing everything at full throttle.
Being someone who “charges” can be viewed by some as being thoughtless or irresponsible. It’s not mature. But I respect the quality of people who go for it – regardless of age or sport. A runner who charges may never be noticed by the record books. It’s someone who goes out and just goes for it every time. In workouts and in races, these people are in the moment and working for their own internal rewards. I can spot them. They’re usually not the disciplined, athletically gifted, methodical runners at the front of the pack. They’re somewhere in the middle, working as hard as they can, charging with everything they have towards the finish line.
I like chargers. If surfers and kids can be chargers so can 40 year old runners. Let it not be said about me that I am consistent, disciplined, steady, a smart runner or even fast or strong. I would rather it be said about me that I charge.